The HTC HD7S isn’t scheduled for release until June 5, but we managed to get the device a bit early. We have been testing it out for about a week now and are ready to get the full review up. The HD7S will be released on AT&T soon and will be an addition to its current Windows Phone 7 portfolio. Get your eyes and your brains ready because we have a review for you right after the jump.
The HTC HD7S has some nice internals that make it run its Windows Phone 7 platform without any problems. Internally we are looking at a 1GHz processor, missing the dual-core processor that is being seen on a lot of new phones. Regardless, the 1GHz processor does a good job at running necessary apps.
The HTC HD7S features a large 4.3-inch Super LCD touchscreen display with 480 x 800 resolution. We really love the quality of the Super LCD display with the Windows Phone UI. When watching videos and browsing the web, it is obvious how well the Super LCD display performs and gives a great picture every time.
The phone itself is pretty large, mainly because of the 4.3-inch display. The HD7S weighs in at 5.71 ounces and sizes up at 4.80 x 2.68 x 0.44. However, we didn’t find the large size to be bothersome at all. In fact, we think those who like large displays and bigger phones will be pleased with this one. The front of the phone has three touch-sensitive buttons below the display: a back button, a Windows (Home) button, and a search button. Below the buttons is the slot where the microphone is presumably located. Right above the display is HTC, AT&T branding, and the speaker to hear someone talking.
Turn the phone around and you will see a nicely designed back. The most prominent is the 5-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. The metal piece surrounding the camera can be turned into a stand for the device when watching videos or using it on its side. The back is rounded off with mostly grey and a bit of silver to project a high-end look.
On the right side of the phone there is the volume toggle and camera hot key. The bottom has a 3.5mm headphone jack and the microUSB port. Left side has no functionality and the top features the power/stand-by key.
The HTC HD7S runs Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s phone platform. This OS is a bit different than others we have reviewed on the site in that it is a little simpler to use and has a unique design. Windows Phone 7 utilizes tiles to allow for shortcuts, favorite apps or people, and notifications. You can customize the tiles that are shown on the front page. Swipe to the left and it will bring you to a list of applications shown in alphabetical order.
We really like the simple look of the Windows Phone 7 platform. At first glance it is pretty plain, but the way the tiles move and the transitions really make it shine. While the tiles may not be all colorful and show off the awesome screen, but it does look pretty cool.
The Windows Phone “Mango” update will bring along a slew of new features including multitasking. However, that update will not be available until the fall so we are left with no multitasking on the HD7S. This operating system is still rather new and it took iOS a while to get multitasking, so we can’t say this is out of the norm. But we still have to wonder why all these platforms are released without multitasking support.
The HD7S comes preloaded with some AT&T and HTC apps. AT&T made sure that all the following were included on this phone: AT&T FamilyMap, myWireless, Navigation, Radio, and U-Verse Mobile. HTC loads its HTC Hub application which is an online store that allows you to download apps intended for your HTC device. Luckily, all of these preloaded apps can be uninstalled.
The gaming aspect of Windows Phone is unique from other smartphone platforms in that it integrated into Xbox Live. You can check out your Xbox Live avatar, achievements, and requests. We tried a few of the games and found them to be pretty interesting. One of our favorite features is the ability to try games before you buy them. This avoids you spending $2.99+ on a game you are not going to like. The games you play on your Windows Phone will allow you to build up your gamerscore and challenge friends to play. Overall, this is a pretty nice part of the phone because it actually integrated your current Xbox Live account into the phone.
The Marketplace now has over 20,000 apps according to Microsoft. Comparing this to Android and iOS, there are way less apps and it is apparent when looking through the Marketplace. Most of your favorite big names apps are probably there like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Search, etc. However, you will quickly notice that some of the apps are missing like Pandora and a native Foursquare app. Not only that, but the apps you download do not utilize multitasking which just makes using some apps quite annoying.
It wouldn’t be a Windows Phone without Microsoft Office on it. The Office app brings OneNote for easy notes, Excel, Word, and Powerpoint. Using these apps is great for on the go working. It is easy to import a current document or create one from scratch. The functionality is all these. You can highlight, change font color, change text, and search it. Once done, you can easily send it via email.
The “People” app is essentially your combined contact list. When you connect your phone up to Facebook, it will automatically add contact pictures, email, home address, and allow you to write on the contact’s wall. This type of integration is something we wish would be added to all platforms (*cough* iOS *cough*).
The Music + Videos application essentially brings the Zune to your phone. This is similar to how iOS brings the iPod to the iPhone. You can easily browse through music and movies you load onto it. Windows Phone 7 gives you the functionality to listen to local radio stations, but only works when headphones are plugged in. The marketplace will allow you to download music and videos.
The HTC HD7S has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. It is missing the front-facing camera that is becoming the norm on smartphones. Check out a sample below:
The 1230 mAh battery on the HD7S has been pretty impressive. We can easily last a full day on a full charge. With light usage, you are looking at over a day. Moderate to heavy use will still allow you a good day of usage before having to recharge it. Of course, no multitasking allows for Microsoft of deliver better battery life and we hope to see the good battery life once the Mango update is released.
The HD7S is our favorite AT&T Windows Phone 7 device currently available. It has some impressive specs and performs flawlessly. Windows Phone 7 still has a ways to go, but it will be getting better when the Mango update hits in the fall. Overall we recommend the HD7S to those who want to get into smartphones or those who are die hard Microsoft fans.